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Full text of "NightRider"

434

" Benton Todd," Mr. Munn interrupted, still meditatively,
" he did what he thought you wanted him to do."

" And you/3 she retorted. " He thought you were wonder-
ful, he wanted to be like you."

He lay there, ignoring her words. " He was a fool," he said
then.

Suddenly she leaned forward in her chair, and thrust her
arms out at him, the hands lifted and bent upward at the
wrists, in a gesture of protest, saying: " It doesn't matter. It's
over. I came here to tell you something-----"

"What?" he asked.

" Pm going away," she replied, speaking hurriedly, and her
hands subsided to her lap, delayedly as though sinking
through a depth of water. " Somewhere away from here. I
oughtn't ever have come here. Ever. But I'm going away,
You said you wanted to marry me. You can go away. You
ought to, I can marry you now; we'll go away, and get mar-
ried some time and be together." Her gaze left him, return-
ing to the insufficient flame of the lamp. " That was what
I came here to say," she concluded.

After her voice stopped, the night sounds seemed to creep
back into the room, gradually and as though timidly return-
ing, the sound of the insects and the scarcely discernible
sound of the leaves moving in the bushes near the house, for
a little wind had begun.

" There was a time," Mr. Munn said, " when I could have
done it. A long time back."

"I knew you would say that," she answered, her voice a
whisper.

" I didn't know it," he admitted, " until I said it."

"I knew it when I saw you tonight. When you came
through that door. But I had to tell you what I'd come to
tell you. I owed it to myself. I had to."

"I owe it to myself," he told her, " to stay here."

" No," she said, and leaned toward him again, " you don't.
It's not that we "—and she hesitated, still leaning and looking
at him as though to draw his averted face toward her before